Do you want to host a successful adult coloring night at your church? In this post, we’ll profile a church that has used Illustrated Children’s Ministry’s coloring posters and hosted two successful adult coloring nights.
I think it’s safe to say that the adult coloring craze is still a thing. Bookstores and publishers had predicted it would have been a thing of the past by now, but it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. It’s also safe to say that churches are generally a bit behind cultural trends, so it’s not surprising that I’ve just recently started to see more and more announcements about churches that are hosting adult coloring evenings. A few months ago, my mom told me that Book N Brush, the small bookstore in my hometown of Chehalis, Washington, was starting to host Coloring & Cocktails events. And it’s certainly not alone – bookstores and art studios and community centers around the country have begun hosting more and more adult coloring nights.
Now, if I’m being completely honest, if I had to choose between coloring at church or an event called Coloring & Cocktails…well, that’d be a tough choice. Or maybe your church has a more friendly alcohol-policy, and you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
But I digress.
Hosting a Successful Adult Coloring Night At Your Church: A Case Study
A few weeks ago, I heard about a church in Davenport, Iowa that has hosted two successful adult coloring nights using our products, and I wanted to learn more about what they were doing that worked so well. I got in touch with their director of communication, Ann McGlynn, and she was kind enough to give us the who, what, where, when, why and how of their experience in hosting a successful adult coloring night at their church. With that, I’m going to hand it over to Ann, and let her share some of their church’s experiences with you.
St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa • Adult Coloring Nights
With colored pencils in hand, a crew of adults ages 20-90, gathered together on a weekday evening to color. Starting with a short devotion centered on the story of creation, women and men spent about an hour and a half creating, snacking, and talking.
This coloring night has become a few-times-a-year event at St. Paul Lutheran in Davenport, Iowa. Using the Illustrated Children’s Ministry posters, it is a shared time of simple togetherness and meeting new friends.
St. Paul member Kit Whan suggested the church hold adult coloring nights. With a few supplies, a few cookies, an online signup for RSVP, and the posters, a beloved event was born. Approximately 30 people attended the Lenten and Illustrated Earth coloring events. Another adult coloring night is planned for Advent in early December.
Who attends the adult coloring nights? College students, people who regularly color as prayer time, people who say they don’t have an artistic bone in their body, artists and people who love anything to do with art. The age range really is from 20-90. Most attend St. Paul, others come after hearing about it from their friends.
What does it entail? A beginning devotion, coloring (with supplies provided, but some people bring their own tools), cookies made by an attendee who also owns a bakery, lemonade and ice tea, and about an hour and a half of time. We ask people to RSVP through our website. There is no fee and the church picks up the cost. We do not publicize outside of the church, but that could most definitely be done with a quick news release or flyer.
Where is it? In one of our church commons area, with round tables that seat about 6-8 people. The completed works are hung up in the same commons area for a couple of weeks.
When? An evening that works with our church calendar, 6:30 – 8pm.
Why? Togetherness. Fellowship. Getting to know others. Connecting with God through art.
“Adult coloring has become a beloved event at St. Paul. It’s a simple, easy, laid-back time that brings people with all sorts of different interests together. It’s particularly fun to watch people of all different ages interact and laugh with each other and share in each other’s lives,” said Ann McGlynn, director of communication, who helps coordinate the events.
Why does an adult coloring night work so well?
While I have been out of serving in full-time parish ministry for just over one year, the last seven years I worked in a church, one of the aspects that was always lacking was meaningful fellowship and community opportunities. Sure you could talk with people at coffee hour after worship, or there was the annual pancake breakfast the youth put on to raise money for their mission trip to Mexico, but it was always difficult to come up with fun and easy programs to bring people together and not add a huge burden onto the staff (who already have too much to do with the little time they have).
St. Paul isn’t the only church that has hosted an adult coloring night at their church, and they weren’t the first. But when you read the description of their event that Ann gave above, it’s easy to see why it sounds so appealing and why it has been so successful. People are being pulled in too many directions in their lives today, and honestly, the church often contributes to the laundry list of responsibilities, programs, meetings, groups and more that individuals and families have to deal with throughout the week.
And yet with these adult coloring nights, people are just asked to show up, to be present, and to engage in conversation and fellowship with one another. Yes, there is an opening devotion, and yes, someone has to figure out the cookies and lemonade. But it sounds like St. Paul has figured out how to put together a very successful adult coloring night without making it labor intensive or a frustrating experience to plan, and I’m excited that they’re already planning their third adult coloring night for Advent.
Click on the photos below to see some more shots from St. Paul’s Adult Coloring Night, using our Illustrated Earth Coloring Posters.
So, how do I host a successful adult coloring night?
Chances are high you have many people in your congregation who have already been to some type of an adult coloring activity, or at the very least, got an adult coloring book and some new colored pencils for Christmas last year or for their birthday. Figure out who those people are and start up the conversation about what it could look like to host an adult coloring night.
As you heard from Ann, you really don’t need to do much to prep for an adult coloring night. You’re going to need some colored pencils, crayons and markers (although, you should also encourage folks to bring their own as well) and you’re going to need something to color. I’ve included a couple free coloring sheets in the resource guide that you can download at the top or bottom of this post, and perhaps that will get you started. But one of the joys of this community experience is everyone being able to work to create something together.
That’s one of the reasons Illustrated Children’s Ministry started creating these large coloring posters. You can get many hands around each poster, each person getting to work on their own section. And that’s when the great conversations start. People huddled together, creating art together and engaging in each other’s lives in ways that they may not have before. We talk a bit about that in our video about why we think coloring is more than just a trend.
Of course, no church event would be complete without some food, so grab some lemonade, coffee or a more fancy adult beverage, if your church’s alcohol policy is a bit more lenient…and please check into it if you’re not sure…Illustrated Children’s Ministry cannot be held responsible for any trouble you might get into with your Church Board/Session if you don’t check. 🙂
Another thing I noticed was that St. Paul’s Adult Coloring Nights were based on a theme. They first did one during Lent, then they had a focus on creation with the Illustrated Earth Coloring Posters and now they will have another one for Advent. So, maybe you want to do something similar. Or find posters or coloring books all based on the same type of designs; maybe it’s animals and plants one time and mandalas the next time.
So, there you go. Get some coloring posters or books. Bring along crayons, markers and colored pencils. Get some food. Oh, and music. I always like a little background music for events like this. And think outside the box a little bit here. It doesn’t need to be Celtic Treasures or some other church music. I quite like coloring to Coldplay, The Martian Soundtrack, or anything by The Weepies. Actually, if you want some really great chill background music, be sure to check out Ásgeir’s album, In the Silence.
Alright, go host your own adult coloring night!
While there isn’t any one right way to host a successful adult coloring night at your church, I hope this post has given you some ideas to ponder. And now it’s up to you! Whether you use the free coloring sheets included in this post’s resource guide, you decide to look into some of our large coloring posters, or find your own materials, I hope you’ll consider how easy it can be to get adults together for a time of simply being together. And when you give people time to simply be together, you’ll be amazed at the new relationships that will form and the depth of conversation and relating with one another that will take place.
If you are looking for a few different large poster options that you could use, check out our links below. The only posters we have in stock to ship are our Illustrated Earth Coloring Posters. But the others are all available immediate via a digital download.
- In stock: Illustrated Earth Coloring Posters
- Illustrated Earth Coloring Sheets: 8.5″×11″ version
- Advent Posters: Digital Files Only
- Advent Posters: Digital Files Only (in Spanish)
- Advent Coloring Sheets: 8.5″x11″ version (in Spanish)
- Advent Coloring Sheets: 8.5″×11″ version
- Inspired Posters: Digital Files Only
If you’ve hosted successful adult coloring nights at your church, please share your fun and creative ideas in the comments!
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— Children’s Ministry (@IllustratedCM) August 25, 2016
Are you interested in hosting an adult coloring night at your church, but not exactly sure how to pull it off? We’re here to help. Many thanks to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa for sharing about their experience of their Adult Coloring Nights. EXCLUSIVE CONTENT! Be sure to download the resource guide which includes the post so that you can easily share it with others during church staff meetings, and it also includes three free coloring sheets. Link is in our profile! #ministry #whatpastorsdo #coloringbooks #adultcoloringbook #adultcoloringbooks